Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Long time no post

Feels like I haven't posted for ages on here been so busy!

Away last weekend so Chester went to stay with his Vizsla pals. He was so worn out when he got home he went straight to bed and has been sleeping pretty much ever since.

We're entered into the HVS Working Test this Sunday and although I'm not nervous this time I am concerned we've slipped back a bit.

I've gone cold turkey on all tennis balls in the hope to pick up some interest in the retrieves again. There seems to be no problem when there's a hunt involved but a straight retrieve doesn't always deliver the result I wanted. Not brilliant! However I think I need to find somewhere else to train rather than our rabbit scented woods/fields as it's too much of a distraction at the moment.

Got a 1:1 session tonight to get things back in order. Would like to concentrate on some of the basics and run a few dummy tests we might come across on Sunday.

In the meantime I've been lent the Hunt, Point, Retrieve Dogs for Work and Showing by N Dear which looks excellent. Think I'll pick up some tips :)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Water Training Day

Chester and his buddy Jack (Large Munsterlander) went to a water training day on Sunday. Lovely location down in Sussex.

We were in class 3 - Swimmers who needed practice on different entries. Good group - only 6 of us so lots of opportunities to practice and talk to the trainer.

Chester is quite confident in the water as he splashes about in the river near us all of the time but has only swam a couple of times.

Starting off with an easy entry. Chester was a little hesitant but swam out well and returned the dummy. He did drop it before he got out of the water though. doh!

Jack wasn't so confident in the water but was uber keen. He is a splashy swimmer and doesn't like to go too far out but by the end of the day he was a lot better.

We practiced lots of different entries - straight into deep water, shallow entry but v muddy, a steep slope through bushes etc and then into water.

We learnt just to stay quiet and let the dog work it out. Give your command and point then in the right direction. If they go off track, a simple 'no' set them up and cast them again. Don't say anything while they are in the water (assuming they are on track to get the dummy) and then stand back for the delivery.

Chester continually dropped the dummy but I know this is a problem in water and we need to work on it. On one occasion he couldn't actually see me as he came out of the water. It must have shocked him so much he held onto the dummy, run up the bank and delivered to hand. Excellent! Lots of praise and a little game :)

At the end the trainer had a dead duck to see what the dogs who hadn't experienced this before would do. All dogs were sniffing away. Chester had a good sniff and attempted to pick it up but not very successfully. Trainer said it wasn't ideal for a first time :( I don't know enough to tell whether that means he'll never pick game or not.

The lovely Jack however, picked the duck and just carried it in his mouth all the way back to the car. Brilliant!!

Had a great day, met some lovely people and learn a lot.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Direction, Direction, Direction

Had a good 1:1 last night. Caught up over the events of the weekend, where we went wrong etc. Aiming for the next test at the end of July :)

Want to try and get Chester running away from me in a straight line so set up in front of a post, sent him 'away' to a dummy I had placed there. Quickly followed him up and rewarded at the post. The ball went behind the fence which sort of worked in my favour as wherever I put him in the field and said 'away' he would run to the fence where the ball was! Sort of cheating but we can build that up with nothing there.

Did some direction work - sent him away to the fence again, stopped him, threw a dummy either side and sent for one, back to me, away to the fence and back out to the other. He didn't do too badly in this.

Then did some hunting inside a square - about 30yards across. Threw a flat dummy in a couple of times, trying to get him to quarter to find it but it doesn't work very well because he always goes straight to it, following his nose!! On the third time - no dummy so I could really work him. This is the point where I fall down as I'm not very good at turning him and knowing when to leave him because he's doing a good job. Dummy finally thrown in and he hunts nicely to get it :) I really need to practice this so I am more confident on the hunting part of the tests.

Chester is always so well behaved in training - how does that happen?!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

LMC Working Test

Chester and I entered our first working test today in puppy class. I was so nervous, had no idea what to expect and saw people I knew would be good. eeek!

Test went as follows:

Hunting - hunted in a wooded area. Stop your dog at the end and recall. Chester hunted well but judge said I didn't hunt with him enough so he was hunting by himself. I was conscious not to give too many commands so ended up not giving enough. Handler error!

Water retrieve - I thought this was tricky. Deep entry into reeds/vines and then a bit of an open swim to the dummy. Chester was hesitant going in, then got stuck in the reeds and panicked a bit so came back out. Sent him out again, eventually he got past the reeds, got the dummy but dropped it before he came out. Probably because of the steep exit. Just needs more experience on this.

Memory retrieve - Triangle set up. Walk your dog off lead to a marker (only one command to be used for heel), sit them up, walk out to a marker mid way, throw the dummy out. Return to dog, heel to the beginning, send for the dummy. Chester did it perfectly!!!! Delivered to hand too :) Couldn't fault him.

Seen retrieve - Seen retrieve down a track, deliver to hand. Chester waited until I sent him but it wasn't a confident run down the track and he went off to the side and hunted. Struggled to get him back on track, eventually he bought it and delivered to hand. Doubt we got many marks for that.

Not sure where we placed as left early. I don't expect much but really pleased we're definitely up to standard and can do all of the tests, just need to put him in the test environment more.

Want to enter some more puppies before the season is out.